Shielding Your Assets From Lawsuits

In our litigious society, we are all vulnerable to being sued, especially those with significant assets. If you happen to work in a field where lawsuits are commonplace, for example, you’re a doctor, a home builder, a lawyer, an architect, or business owner, a lawsuit may be one of your foremost concerns.

According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, 99 percent of doctors who practice in a high-risk specialty will encounter at least one medical malpractice suit before they retire.

What about you, are your hard-earned assets at risk? If they are, the good news is that there are estate planning tools that can shield vulnerable assets and property, such as your business, your home, and your bank accounts.

You don’t want your assets targeted if you are sued. By taking steps to make you a less attractive target to someone who is eager to obtain your money, you can put yourself in the best position for reaching a favorable settlement – if you ever are sued.

How can I insulate my assets?

At the top of your list – buy adequate insurance for yourself as well as your business. Insurance is your first line of defense in protecting your assets. Work with an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure that you take out sufficient coverage for your automobiles, home, and other belongings.

Do you own a business? If so, make sure that you update your general liability coverage on a regular basis. Check with your lawyer to see if you should purchase employment practices and professional liability insurance.

If you are married you may want to rethink how your assets are titled. If you have jointly titled assets, a creditor may force you to liquidate your jointly-held assets to collect on a debt.

Depending on your state’s laws, it may make sense to protect your assets by ensuring that they are titled to your spouse alone.

If you want to take this approach, make sure you are familiar with your state’s marital property division laws, especially if you live in a community property state, such as California or Nevada where each spouse is entitled to half of the marital property, regardless of whose name is on the title or account.

We are only scratching the surface for the asset protection strategies. To find out which ones are right for you, talk to an estate planning lawyer in this directory.

Categories: Asset Protection